High Intensity Interval Training - Why it really works! - Affinity Allied Health Clinic
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High Intensity Interval Training – Why it really works!

06 Apr High Intensity Interval Training – Why it really works!

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular over recent times. We do know that physical activity and exercise offer us a very wide range of health benefits. One of these is cardio-respiratory fitness. Having low cardio-respiratory fitness puts you at risk of many well-known diseases; some are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Aerobic exercise training is one of the most effective ways of increasing cardio-respiratory fitness. For diabetes the major role of exercise and fitness is blood glucose control.

Traditional forms of aerobic exercise have always been long (>20min) steady state and low intensity exercise. This can be going for a jog, light cycle or anything sustained for an extended period of time. The benefits to this type of activity are

  • It’s easy & simple!
  • Generally, pretty safe for all (relatively low risk)!
  • Everyone can do it!

The downside to this type activity are;

  • Time consuming.
  • Repetitive.
  • Can be boring, motivation can become difficult to maintain.

So what’s the alternative you may ask? The answer is High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT). This type of training has attracted the attention of many, mainly for its ability to improve cardio-respiratory health in a relatively short amount of time. HIIT involves alternating between higher intensity efforts with lower intensity efforts. There are many different HIIT protocols that have been studied, all offer a different benefit to the individual.

Some of the advantages of this type of training are;

  • Involves different intensity levels (not monotonous in nature).
  • Reduces session time and length.
  • Has been shown to be more effective and efficient than traditional methods.

The downside to this activity are;

  • Some people may be at greater risk due to higher intensity (always discuss with a health professional to review your risks)
  • Other than that There are no disadvantages, only positives


This type of training can be done on a treadmill, a cycle ergometer, rower, stepper, cross trainer or any other type of movement. Its only limited to your imagination. Lifestyle change is key in the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes and Pre Diabetes. Currently we do know that exercise adherence is low within this population. This is why HIIT may be able to offer some variety in a time efficient way, with far more health benefits to traditional modes of exercise.

So how can this work for you? Currently the optimal interval length and intensity is unknown. The literature tells us that intervals may last between 10 seconds and 4 minutes at higher than 70% of maximal aerobic capacity. But this will all depend on your initial level of fitness and your current capabilities.

Our friendly Exercise Physiologists at Affinity Allied Health Clinic will prepare an individualised protocol based on your needs and abilities, this will then be progressed when required to ensure continual progress. If you have any questions, queries or would like some more information contact the Affinity team and we will gladly offer you our assistance.

Contact us on 03 8692 2626 or book online at http://affinityalliedhealth.com.au/book-now/


FEX, A., LEDUC-GAUDET, J. P., FILION, M. E., KARELIS, A. D. & AUBERTIN-LEHEUDRE, M. 2015. Effect of Elliptical High Intensity Interval Training on Metabolic Risk Factor in Pre- and Type 2 Diabetes Patients: A Pilot Study. J Phys Act Health, 12, 942-6.

FRANCOIS, M. E. & LITTLE, J. P. 2015. Effectiveness and safety of high-intensity interval training in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Spectr, 28, 39-44.

JUNG, M. E., BOURNE, J. E., BEAUCHAMP, M. R., ROBINSON, E. & LITTLE, J. P. 2015. High-intensity interval training as an efficacious alternative to moderate-intensity continuous training for adults with prediabetes. J Diabetes Res, 2015, 191595.

QUILEZ LLOPIZ, P. & REIG GARCIA-GALBIS, M. 2015. [Glycemic control through physical exercise in type 2 diabetes systematic review]. Nutr Hosp, 31, 1465-72.

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